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Commentary - Year 2 Sabbath 47

Numbers 1:1-54   -   Hosea 2:1   -   Psalm 91  -   Revelation 7:1-17
 

 

Shevat 29, 5763 / Feb   1, 2003

Shevat 21, 5766 / Feb 18, 2006

Shevat 20, 5769 / Feb 14, 2009

Shevat 18, 5772 / Feb 11, 2012

 

Bemidbar / In the Wilderness    SCRIPTURES (should be read first)

 

The Tabernacle

Yahweh’s presence rested upon Israel at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 24:16), at the Tabernacle in the wilderness (Exodus 40:34), and at the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:11). As Israel encamped around Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah, so also they encamped around the Tabernacle in the wilderness, and later dwelt around Jerusalem in Canaan. Yahweh and His Torah (instruction) were always to be at the center of their lives. They, in turn, were to be a light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6).

 

The census in the wilderness

The census was a count of the men from the age of twenty years to sixty years – “the legion,” those suited for military duty. The count was performed by taking a half-shekel coin from each, and counting the coins (Exodus 30:12-13).

 

Previous censuses counted the nation as a unit. This census counted by tribes. The final counts would be useful for structuring the tribal armies, and for dividing territories.

 

The counts were performed through a “called” leader of each tribe. This means an elder recognized and chosen by the people, not someone seeking a position by claiming that he feels God called him.

 

Listings of the twelve tribes:

 

Genesis  29*          Numbers 1**        Revelation 7***

Reuben                  Reuben                  Judah

Simeon                   Simeon                   Reuben

Levi                        Gad                         Gad

Judah                     Judah                     Asher

Dan                         Issachar                 Naphtali

Naphtali                 Zebulun                 Manasseh

Gad                         Joseph                   Simeon

Asher                     Benjamin                Levi

Issqacher               Dan                         Issachar

Zebulun                 Asher                     Zebulun

Joseph                   Naphtali                 Joseph*

Benjamin                Levi                        Benjamin

 

*Genesis here records the birth order of the sons of Israel.

** Joseph fulfilled the part of priest (instead of the firstborn), and was used to save all the family: therefore he was given a double portion through his sons Ephraim and Manasseh, who are also named in this chapter. Levi is shown last, because Levites were to keep the Tabernacle, and not be counted for warriors or land portions.

***Dan is not in this listing; Joseph and one son (Manasseh) are listed, with the other son (Ephraim) being omitted. Dan may be omitted due to apostasy,  one of Jeroboam’s golden calves being set up there; Ephraim may be omitted for a similar reason.

 

(Hosea 2:1) Say to your brothers, “Ammi (My people),” and to your sisters, “Ruhamah (obtained mercy).”

 

God’s people were not chosen for any worthiness in themselves. They are the ones chosen before the world began, and shown mercy – redemption from slavery to sin, forgiveness, cleansing, and future glorification.

 

Psalm 91

Psalms 90 through 100 were written by Moses: “A Prayer of Moses the man of God” (Psalm 90:1). Each was written for one of the tribes – Simeon being excluded (see Deuteronomy 33). Psalm 91 is for Levi.

 

This Psalm describes the state of the person who walks with God – be it Moses, the Israelites (and we who worship their God), or Yeshua.

 

(V.1) “He who sits in the secret place of the Most High, shall dwell in the shadow of the Almighty.” Consider the three interpretations: literal, spiritual, and prophetic.

 

·            This can refer to the Levites, who served in the Tabernacle, and dwelt next to it.

·            This can also refer to God’s people (whom we are, if we are of the faith). He who seeks God’s holiness and wisdom need fear neither man nor natural harm: whatever befalls him is for his good (And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose – Romans 8:28). In this world there is darkness, where man does not see the light of God: but we can dwell here, fully protected by God, without the understanding of the world.

·            This can also refer to Yeshua, who applied this Psalm to Himself (see v.11-12 below).
_________

 

·            God fills everything, being omnipresent (Psalm 139:7); yet He dwells in the Tabernacle / Temple / Synagogue in a special sense, where man can come to “meet” Him at appointed times (Leviticus 23).

 

·            God also dwells in the hearts of His people.

 

·            And His fullness dwelt in Yeshua (Colossians 2:9).

 

(V.2) Whenever a person sets out to walk with God, demonic forces struggle to block the way – with such weapons as other people, one’s own emotions, and worldly events. So, Moses said as he climbed Mt. Sinai, “Yahweh is my strength and my fortress – My Elohim, I will trust in Him.” Not only did Moses trust God as Yahweh for mercy (forgiveness) and grace (unmerited favor), but as Elohim for true justice.

(V.3-6) In justice Elohim will deliver from the enemies’ snares, and in grace Yahweh will cover us – His truth will be our shield and armor. We will not fear “terror of the night” – unseen danger, nor “the arrow that flies by day” –  dangers that we can forsee. We will not fear “pestilence that walks in gloom” – disease that we may be susceptible to in inclement weather, nor “the destroyer who lays waste at noon” – an attacker who comes when all seems well.

 

(V.7-8) We will see many fall, but we shall be upheld by God’s hand (Psalm 37:24). We will only see the destruction of those who spurned God, none of the harm will befall us.

 

(V.9-10) For those who proclaim, “Yahweh is my refuge”, and make the Most High their dwellingplace, no evil will befall them, and no plague will come to their home.

 

(V.11-12) “For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” We see here that God provides guardian angels – He did so for Moses on Mt. Sinai, He does so for us, and He did so for Yeshua (as Satan quoted to tempt Yeshua to jump off the pinnacle of the Temple – Matthew 4:6).

 

(V.13) The word translated lion means a large mature lion, and the word for viper means an old vicious snake. The young lion and the snake are two creatures that hate each other, and arouse each other to murderous fury. Those who walk with God can trample on both at the same time without danger! This may easily be seen as a reference to Yeshua in the midst of different kinds of enemies at the same time. It can also apply to our spiritual standing in the midst of various spiritual enemies.
 

This Psalm is especially meaningful for me, and I would like to sing the last portion. Take this as personal from God about you.

 

Because he set his love on Me, from danger I will set him free.

Because to him My Name is known, on high I’ll set him as Mine own.

 

As oft has he will call to Me, most gracious shall My answer be.

I will be with him in distress, and in his troubles I will bless.

 

Yes, great salvation send will I, with length of life will satisfy.

On him I honor will bestow, to him My great salvation show.

 

Feb 1, 2003

“WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday that President George Bush will become more deeply involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than he was in his first two years in the White House.
. . .   aims to create a Palestinian state by the year 2005 carved out of land that Israel has held for more than 35 years.”

The Space Shuttle Columbia, with the first Israeli astronaut, exploded this morning over . . . Palestine ! Texas – the home state of President Bush.

The Israeli astronaut said earlier that he was not religious, but would mark the Sabbath and eat kosher in space.

Considering today’s Torah lesson: what if . . . this astronaut had been a believer walking with God, and our President would have been standing up for God’s ownership and rule in Eretz Israel?

 

 

From Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers)

 

(2:4) “Treat His will as if it were your own will, so that He will treat your will as if it were His will.

Nullify your will in the face of His will, so that He will nullify the will of others in the face of your will.”

 

(4:7) “The one who studies Torah in order to teach is given the means to study and teach;
and the one who studies Torah in order to practice is given the means to study and to teach, to observe and to practice.

 

(4:11) “Whoever fulfills the Torah despite poverty will ultimately fulfill it in wealth;
but whoever neglects the Torah because of wealth will ultimately neglect it in poverty.”

 

(4:21) “This world is like a lobby before the world to come;
prepare yourself in the lobby so that you may enter the banquet hall.”

 

(5:13) “There are four character types among people:
a) One who says, ‘My property is mine, and yours is yours,’ is an average character type,
but some say this is characteristic of Sodom;
b) ‘Mine is yours and yours is mine,’ is an unlearned person;
c) ‘Mine is yours and yours is yours,’ is scrupulously pious;
d) ‘Yours is mine and mine is mine.’ Is wicked.

 

(5:18) “There are four types among those who sit before sages:
a sponge, a funnel, a strainer, and a sieve –
a) a sponge, which absorbs everything;
b) a funnel, which lets in from one and lets out from the other;
c) a strainer, which lets wine flow through and retains the sediment;
d) and a sieve, which allows flour dust to pass through and retains the fine flour.

 

Readings:

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

 

Reader 1 Amen. 1 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 2 "Take a census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, every male, head by head 3 from twenty years old and upward, whoever is able to go out to war in Israel, you and Aaron shall number them by their armies. 4 "With you, moreover, there shall be a man of each tribe, each one head of his father's household.

Reader 2 Amen. 5 "These then are the names of the men who shall stand with you: of Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur; 6 of Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai; 7 of Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab; 8 of Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar; 9 of Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon; 10 of the sons of Joseph: of Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; of Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur; 11 of Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni; 12 of Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai; 13 of Asher, Pagiel the son of Ochran; 14 of Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel; 15 of Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan. 16 "These are they who were called of the congregation, the leaders of their fathers' tribes; they were the heads of divisions of Israel."

Reader 3 Amen. 17 So Moses and Aaron took these men who had been designated by name, 18 and they assembled all the congregation together on the first of the second month. Then they registered by ancestry in their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, head by head, 19 just as Yahweh had commanded Moses. So he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai.

Reader 4 Amen. 20 Now the sons of Reuben, Israel's firstborn, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 21 their numbered men of the tribe of Reuben were 46,500. 22 Of the sons of Simeon, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, their numbered men, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 23 their numbered men of the tribe of Simeon were 59,300. 24 Of the sons of Gad, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 25 their numbered men of the tribe of Gad were 45,650. 26 Of the sons of Judah, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 27 their numbered men of the tribe of Judah were 74,600.

Reader 5 Amen. 28 Of the sons of Issachar, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 29 their numbered men of the tribe of Issachar were 54,400. 30 Of the sons of Zebulun, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 31 their numbered men of the tribe of Zebulun were 57,400. 32 Of the sons of Joseph, namely, of the sons of Ephraim, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 33 their numbered men of the tribe of Ephraim were 40,500. 34 Of the sons of Manasseh, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 35 their numbered men of the tribe of Manasseh were 32,200.

Reader 6 Amen. 36 Of the sons of Benjamin, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 37 their numbered men of the tribe of Benjamin were 35,400. 38 Of the sons of Dan, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 39 their numbered men of the tribe of Dan were 62,700. 40 Of the sons of Asher, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 41 their numbered men of the tribe of Asher were 41,500. 42 Of the sons of Naphtali, their genealogical registration by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war, 43 their numbered men of the tribe of Naphtali were 53,400.

Reader 7 Amen. 44 These are the ones who were numbered, whom Moses and Aaron numbered, with the leaders of Israel, twelve men, each of whom was of his father's household. 45 So all the numbered men of the sons of Israel by their fathers' households, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war in Israel, 46 even all the numbered men were 603,550. 47 The Levites, however, were not numbered among them by their fathers' tribe. 48 For Yahweh had spoken to Moses, saying, 49 "Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, nor shall you take their census among the sons of Israel. 50 "But you shall appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, and over all its furnishings and over all that belongs to it. They shall carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings, and they shall take care of it; they shall also camp around the tabernacle. 51 "So when the tabernacle is to set out, the Levites shall take it down; and when the tabernacle encamps, the Levites shall set it up. But the layman who comes near shall be put to death. 52 "The sons of Israel shall camp, each man by his own camp, and each man by his own standard, according to their armies. 53 "But the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the testimony, so that there will be no wrath on the congregation of the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall keep charge of the tabernacle of the testimony." 54 Thus the sons of Israel did; according to all which Yahweh had commanded Moses, so they did.

Hosea 1:10 – 2:1

Reader 8 Amen. 10 Yet the number of the sons of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered; and in the place where it is said to them, "You are not My people," it will be said to them, "You are the sons of the living God." 11 And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together, and they will appoint for themselves one leader, and they will go up from the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.

2:1 Say to your brothers, "Ammi," and to your sisters, "Ruhamah."

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

______________________

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."

 

Psalm 91    (To be sung.)

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to Yahweh, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!" 3 For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. 5 You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; 6 of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. 7 A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you. 8 You will only look on with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. 9 For you have made Yahweh, my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place. 10 No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent. 11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. 12 They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra, the young lion and the serpent you will trample down. 14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. 15 He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. 16 With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation.”

 

Revelation 7:1-17

Reader 9 Amen. 1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads." 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: 5 from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, 6 from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, 7 from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, 8 from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.

Reader 10 Amen. 9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen."

Reader 11 Amen. 13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" 14 I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 "For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. 16 "They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes."

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."

 


© 2006  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)

 

 

 

 

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